“Why do people trust algorithms?”

Veronika Alexander, Collin Blinder, and Paul J. Zak, Why Trust an Algorithm? Performance, Cognition, and Neurophysiology, Computers in Human Behavior 89 (2018) 279-288, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2018.07.026.

As a librarian, I am interested in information behavior. I am not a computer scientist or a programmer, so my knowledge about the intricacies of algorithms is minimal. But I try to inform myself where I can.

I found this study to be helpful because it addressed how trust in algorithms affects behavior. The authors conducted a study in which they measured participants’ neurophysiological responses to gain a better understanding of people’s perception of the trustworthiness of algorithms. Their hypothesis? “Higher algorithm accuracy and greater prior use by others would result in higher algorithm adoption … (and) social proof would influence adoption more than algorithm accuracy information.”

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